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Author Topic: Slatted bottom board, worthwhile or not?  (Read 3890 times)
Country Heart
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« on: March 03, 2012, 11:55:33 PM »

Just wondering about the pros and cons.  Do they really do much or are they not worth the investment? 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2012, 12:15:15 AM »

They are nice.  They will cut down on bearding.  I don't think it's worth it now that I have 200 hives.  I don't want to buy 200 slatted racks.  But I used them when I had ten hives or so and liked them.
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Michael Bush
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JackM
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2012, 09:01:52 AM »

They really are not hard to make at all if you have the wood around
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beyondthesidewalks
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2012, 10:52:17 AM »

My take on them is that if they were really that great there would be several threads, here and elsewhere, extolling their virtues, and every beekeeping supply house would have several models from which to choose.
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JackM
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2012, 07:59:14 AM »

Quote
My take on them is that if they were really that great there would be several threads, here and elsewhere, extolling their virtues, and every beekeeping supply house would have several models from which to choose.
Well I also am new, and during my research I decided I wanted to use it to keep them warmer in the winter and to prevent wind drafts.  Just because someone or many are not extolling the virtues of a product is not a reason to just shut it out of the possibility of process.
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beyondthesidewalks
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2012, 10:33:43 AM »

Hope I didn't offend.  Compared to, let's say, smokers which provide a serious beneficial service to beekeepers, Slatted Bottom Boards are hard to find for the most part.  If they really boosted honey production or made a difference in the survival of the hive, everybody would be using them.  I think, if memory serves me right, it was C.C. Miller who really did extoll their virtues and he was no slouch when it came to beekeeping. My point was that if they really did improve things so much everybody would be using them.  They've been around for a long time and have lingered on the fringe of the beekeeping public for the most part.  Michael Bush's post above just about sums it up.  When he ran a few hives he liked them.  When he seriously expanded his operation they fell by the wayside, their cost not justifying their use.  If you want to try them out please do and run a few hives side by side, comparing performance of the slatted bottom board to hive without them.  I'd love to see a report on how performance differed.  You might convince me yet.

Another thing about them is their acronym, SBB, conflicts with the Screened Bottom Board and creates the possibility of confusion.  Interestingly enough, screened bottom boards, which have become very popular, have recently received some very poor reports, most prominently from Randy Oliver.  I know many beekeepers that bought into them, me included.  It will be interesting to see if they stay popular or if we'll see many of them offered for trade here soon.
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Country Heart
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2012, 01:46:44 AM »

Thanks for all your thoughts.

I'm not sure they are something that I will be trying anytime soon.  They were mentioned in a lecture that I attended recently, and I was just trying to get a bit of insight into why or why not someone might chose to use them. 

I think another thread suggested that they might work to discourage robbing. 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2012, 03:05:04 AM »

As pointed out: To look at both sides, they have been around, and have not disappeared, for at least 125 years.  If they were worthless they would have disappeared a century ago.  If they were so dramatically better, they would be standard equipment.
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Michael Bush
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Sparky
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2012, 09:03:39 PM »

I like to use them at the hot times of the year to give the bees a place to hang out above the SBB to move air and to encourage the queen to lay to the bottoms of the frames. In late winter or early spring I like to put them on top of super under inner cover to be a spacer for fondant or patties of any needed feedings or to boost production.
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theriverhawk
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2012, 01:54:00 PM »

Ok, so a few years ago, I was in the middle of this debate.  Michael Bush is right.  If you have 200 hives, it may be financially out of the question.  If you have 10-15 hives, now you may be able to pull that off.

Here's what I did....
I bought a couple and placed them on hives.  I wanted to see how the brood raising went compared to non-racked hives and see if there was a difference in honey.
Observations:
1st year:  Definite difference in brood.  Queen layed the entire frame, every cell.  It was weird to see an entire frame of sealed brood corner to corner.  Non racked hives still had plenty of brood with some even laying all the way to the bottom sometimes.  But racked hives layed all frames to the bottom.  Since I run screened bottom boards, I can see why, sometimes the queen might not lay to the bottom because of cooler air.  Did I see a difference in honey production that year?  I don't think I could say a definitive yes.
2nd year:  Again, definite difference in brood production but this year, there was a definite upswing in honey production from the racked hives.
Current year:  Spring build up has shown a noticeable difference in racked hives.  I purchased another dozen slatted racks and am placing them on new hives. 
Next endeavor:  Making sure that queen cell production hives are slatted.  One hive this spring made ZERO cells on the middle bar of a frame.  I'm going to assume that was from it being too cool for queen cell production that far down.  I'm going to make a point of using slatted racks on all cell producer hives from here on.
Do I think they work?  Yes  I look at it as a $10 investment that will pay me back $10-$20 per year for the next 6-8 years.  Even more on queen productions hives.
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beyondthesidewalks
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2012, 02:40:46 PM »

Riverhawk, that's the first time someone has given me a side-by-side report and your conclusions are intriguing.
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Country Heart
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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2012, 02:00:50 AM »

Thanks for the observations, Riverhawk.  They help me better understand the benefits of slatted bottom boards.
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buzzbee
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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2012, 05:46:06 PM »

Brian D Bray on here had designed one with dowels instead of slats that he thought was quite successful.
here is a post mentioning tubed bottom boards.
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,30716.msg246009.html#msg246009

I have used slatted bottoms and they do have less bearding in hot weather. I have never opened them in dead of winter,but logic seems that the queen may lay closer too the bottom front with the draft stopper on the front of the slatted rack.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2012, 06:12:36 PM by buzzbee » Logged
Indiana Dave
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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2012, 07:23:31 PM »

Thanks for the info Riverhawk.  I built several this winter and put 2 on my strongest 2 hives last week.  Hoping for the same results you had.
Unfortunately, this forum wont let me post the picture of my slatted racks because of some spamming issues.
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Dave Cruser
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2012, 07:24:45 PM »

Bingo!
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Dave Cruser
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« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2012, 08:43:14 PM »

Actually you always have the ability to forward links and photos to
photos@beemaster.com
until permissions are given. It's not a game we take lightly here.
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Indiana Dave
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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2012, 10:21:10 PM »

Okay, I'm not a spammer.  Can someone wave their wand so I can post pics?  Smiley lol
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Dave Cruser
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« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2012, 10:22:48 PM »

I like slatted racks in Hotlanta.  I do have less than 20 hives.

In the heat of summer, I'd rather have the bees inside working than outside because they need to leave the hive to keep the temperature from going up too much inside the hive.  With a slatted rack, I cut bearding in the summer by 2/3.  I haven't compared production because until this year that hasn't really mattered to me, but I love what theriverhawk posted.  I do have slatted racks on all my hives and many frames over my inspections in the last three days were filled completely with brood - no football pattern - literally brood from stem to stern.

Linda T in Hotlanta, a user of the slatted rack
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podius
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« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2012, 07:16:26 PM »

I put slatted racks on my hives last summer. All my hives survived the winter and seem to be doing fine. In all previous years the bees had not cleaned out the hives and dead bees filled the bottom box, molding and rotting as well. This year all dead bees were underneath the rack, a nice pile outside the hive and for the most part the dead bees were dried out, not a squishy gooey mess molding my frames. I think the only drawback is the time it takes to make them, for a DIY'er and also for a company...too much labor.
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John VT
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Larryb
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« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2012, 10:58:35 PM »

Can anyone recommend the best company to buy slatted bottoms from.  I notice that the slats are oriented differently on different vendors.
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